Earlier this week we launched the City Interaction Lab Podcast with an inaugural episode where we talk about graphic medicine with Dr Simon Grennan (University of Chester) and Peter Wilkins (Douglas College, Vancouver Canada).
In this inaugural episode we discuss work co-designing the comics ‘Parables of Care‘ and ‘I Know How This Ends’ centred on dementia care. These complementary issues shine light on those living with dementia and their carers.
We are aware of the issues with audio levels in this episode; we’ll do better next time!
The original audio file of the podcast has also been deposited in City Figshare.
Priego, Ernesto; Scott, Stuart; Wilkins, Peter; Grennan, Simon (2019): City Interaction Lab Podcast – Episode 1 – Discussing Graphic Medicine and Co-Designed Comics – Parables of Care. City, University of London. Media. https://doi.org/10.25383/city.11347799.v1
More on Parables of Care
Parables of Careexplores the potential of comics to enhance the impact of dementia care research.
The 16-page publication presents in comics form true stories of creative responses to dementia care, as told by carers, adapted from a group of over 100 case studies available at http://carenshare.city.ac.uk.
Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from
If you work in a library, hospital, GP practice or care home- or care for someone with dementia in the UK, you can order a free copy of Parables of Care here: in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.
Creating Comics, Creative Comics is a 2-day academic symposium taking place on Friday June 1st & Saturday June 2nd 2018 at the University of South Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
I will make a presentation Saturday (panel 4) along Simon Grennan on a project we have been doing with Peter Wilkins et al. The title of our presentation is “Hypotactic correspondences between Yonkoma four panel manga, emotional ambiguity and story, in styling and drawing the comic Parables of Care: creative responses to dementia care (2018)”.
The First USW Cardiff: Comics Symposium is interested in creator’s perspectives. It will explore comics and creativity and will examine the practice of creating comics, and the particulars of storytelling in comics.
Does changing a panel, change the story? How might a medium’s materiality affect its construction and reception? How do the theoretical and philosophical objectives of the maker inform and frame the construction of the works?
This symposium addresses these needs from the point of view of the creators involved in the production and creation of comics.
Friday 1st June
09:30 Symposium Registration: Registration Desk, The Street, Atrium
10:30 Symposium Welcome with FCI Deputy Dean, Huw Swayne
10:45 PANEL 1 ~ Philosophy, Communicating Concepts
Dr Peter Hodges, The Last Temptation: A Consideration of the Role of Sound in Comics
Xiyuan Tan, Guoxue Comics: Visualising Philosophical Concepts and Cultural Values Through Sequential Narrative
Ian Hornsby, UCOs, or Beyond the Marriage of Philosophy and Sequential Storytelling
Dr Nathan Kilburn, Practice as Research: The Visual Aphorism
Chair: Corrado Morgana
Chris Phillips, Creating Comics – 5 Page Red Riding Hood
With Geraint D’Arcy
14:30 PANEL 2 ~ Perception and Re/presentation
Jeannette D’Arcy, Creating Canon: Fun Home and Transmedial Adaptation
Dr Robert Hagan, Touch Me/Don’t Touch: Female Archetypes in Ann Nocenti’s Daredevil
Chair: Madelon Hoedt
Dr Julia Round, Anonymous Authors, Invisible Illustrators, and Collaborative Creation: Misty and British Girls’ Comics
Saturday 2nd June
09:15 DAY 2 Welcome
09:30 PANEL 3 ~ Practice-As-Research
Dr Paul Davies, New Choices of the Comics Creator
Ahmed Jameel, Studying Writer-Artist Comics Collaboration: A Practice Based-Approach
Dr John Miers, Fortuitous Realism at Work and Play: The Role of Imaginative Projection in Developing a Cartooning Practice
Chair: Brian Fagence
11:00 PANEL 4 ~ Comics, Parables of Care and the Medical Self
Tony Pickering, Diabetes Year One: Drawing my pathography: comics, poetry and the medical self.
Dr Enesto Priego, Dr Simon Grennan and Dr Peter Wilkins, Hypotactic correspondences between Yonkoma four panel manga, emotional ambiguity and story, in styling and drawing the comic Parables of Care: creative responses to dementia care (2018).
Chair: Emily Underwood-Lee
13:00 CICE PRACTITIONER PANEL
Jon Davis-Hunt and Rob Williams
With Brian Fagence
14:00 PANEL 5 ~ History, Memoir and Autoethnography
Nick Dodds, Reframing the Graphic Memoir: How can the comic-strip artist negotiate modality and fidelity in the depiction of personal and historical narratives?
Dr Simon Grennan, Drawing in Drag: self-observation, the dissenting subject and stylistic reformation in the production of a new pseudonymous comic album
Chair: Geraint D’Arcy
15:00 ROUND TABLE / PLENARY
15:30 SYMPOSIUM END
*In association with Cardiff Indie Comic Expo. Registration for the symposium grants entry to CICE Saturday 2nd June.
From the announcement published by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (University of Victoria, Canada):
Open scholarship incorporates open access, open data, open education, and other related movements that have the potential to make scholarly work more efficient, more accessible, and more usable by those within and beyond the academy. By engaging with open practices for academic work, open scholarship shares that work more broadly and more publicly.
Nature of the Awards
Award recipients demonstrate exemplary open scholarship via research, projects, or initiatives. These awards are intended to acknowledge and celebrate exemplary open scholarship, nominated via an open process. In addition to the recognition of accomplishment that comes with such acknowledgement, the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute will also offer one tuition scholarship for each award recipient to the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI; dhsi.org).
The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute would like to thank Clare Apavoo (Canadian Research Knowledge Network), Alyssa Arbuckle (ETCL, U Victoria), Jon Bath (U Saskatchewan), Jonathan Bengtson (U Victoria), Rachel Hendry (Western Sydney U), Tanja Niemann (Érudit), Peter Severinson (Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), Ray Siemens (U Victoria), and Dan Sondheim (ETCL, U Victoria) for their involvement in the 2018 awards.
About the Canadian Social Knowledge Institute
The Canadian Social Knowledge Institute (C-SKI) actively engages issues related to networked open social scholarship: creating and disseminating research and research technologies in ways that are accessible and significant to a broad audience that includes specialists and active non-specialists. Representing, coordinating, and supporting the work of the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) Partnership, C-SKI activities include awareness raising, knowledge mobilization, training, public engagement, scholarly communication, and pertinent research and development on local, national, and international levels. Originated in 2015, C-SKI is located in the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab in the U Victoria Digital Scholarship Commons.
C-SKI’s partners, through INKE, include: Advanced Research Consortium (ARC), Canadian Association of Learned Journals (CALJ), Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing (CISP), Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), Compute Canada, Canadian Writing Research Collaboratory (CWRC), Canadiana, Digital Humanities Research Group (DHRG; Western Sydney U), Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL), Edith Cowan U, Érudit, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Iter: Gateway to the Renaissance, J.E. Halliwell Associates, Public Knowledge Project (PKP), Simon Fraser U Library, Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP), Scholarly and Research Communication (SRC), U Victoria Libraries, and Voyant Tools, among others.
Priego and Wilkins’ Comics Grid [https://www.comicsgrid.com/] is a pioneering open access, open peer review academic journal dedicated to comics scholarship, promoting the area within academia and the general public via contributions that present specialised knowledge in an accessible language, publishing content licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution license. As a publishing platform The Comics Grid encourages digital research, public engagement and collaboration. By integrating with ORCID, and requesting that supplementary data is deposited in open access repositories, The Comics Grid introduces a new generation of scholars to open, reproducible research. It uses Ubiquity Press and the Open Library of Humanities as their publishers; working closely with their web developer and designer, Andy Byers, the journal employs Open Journal Systems with an overlay skin that offers an accessible (and dyslexia friendly) reading mode and a visual UI at both front- and back-end that improves the basic OJS and turns it into a user-friendlier platform that supports general and specialised readers as much as academic authors, editors and reviewers.
Needless to say, this reconginition means a lot to us.
We would like to thank the colleagues who kindly nominated us, as well as everyone involved in the awards.
We would also like to congratulate all the winners and fellow honorable mentions, who have been for some time now an inspiration for our own work.
We would also like to give a sincere thank you to every single colleague who is or has been involved with The Comics Grid— the effort is collective and collaborative and everyone’s contribution remains crucial for the project. We share this honorable mention with you.
Peter worked in partnership with Dr Simon Grennan of the University of Chester, Dr Ernesto Priego of City, University of London, and an NHS Trust, to produce Parables of Care.
We asked Peter some questions about working on Parables of Care.
What is it that most interested you about Care’N’Share as a resource?
Peter Wilkins:Care‘N’Share gives a startling insight into the caregivers’ relationship to the dementia situation and their patients. I think we were all struck by the power of the stories even though they often occur in the most mundane settings. If we looked at it from a literary or narrative point of view, the stories often begin in realist mode and then suddenly shift into a surrealist or absurdist one.
The caregiver is like a character who passes through the wardrobe into a Narnia painted by Salvador Dali. Or like Marlowe going into the Congo in Heart of Darkness. They bring back something that gives us a glimpse into an alternative reality that shocks and frightens us. The uncanniness of the stories made me think of an untapped potential in using art, not as therapy, but as a means of accounting for dementia in a way that medical discourse doesn’t allow us to do.
Some stories in Parables of Care appear to be more or less difficult to ‘get’. What was the thinking behind it?
PW: Well, dementia is difficult to ‘get.’ Indeed, it is what philosophers would call sublime, unpresentable. This is where the idea of parable as a form or genre comes from and why we were so interested in the stories in the app. They are stories of practical reason, of enigmatic utility, of not knowing what to do in a difficult situation. This quality of the stories lends to the caregivers a kind of poetic heroism: they are faced with demands from the other side of rationality, dementia world, that they have to respond to in creative ways. So our conclusion was that caregivers are poets. To present the comics as easy solutions to the difficult problems of caring for people with dementia would not do justice to the caregivers.
On a related note, we were not interested in using the comics medium as a way of making things appear simple, in an “instrumental” use of comics. We don’t care for the idea of comics as simplistic communication; we care for the idea of comics as provocative works of art that will make their audience think and think again. It was great to work with Simon because he understands this through and through, and his drawings work really well at managing the audience’s response.
You are based in Vancouver, Canada. Can you tell us more about Douglas College‘s involvement in Parables of Care?
PW: We want to produce a companion volume toParables that depicts the attitudes towards, and knowledge about, dementia from faculty and students across our Health Sciences faculty. We are working with focus groups from a range of programs, from Nursing through Dental Assisting, to generate material for the comic. The enthusiasm for the project here is tremendous, so we are very excited.
We are involving students in the work, which is important to us. They are running the focus groups and collecting the data. We have a young artist who has more experience in video game design than comics, but she is very committed and enthusiastic. It will be interesting to see how her work plays off of Simon [Grennan]’s. Sarah Leavitt, whose Tangles: A Story of Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me is a groundbreaking graphic memoir on the subject, is consulting on the project, working with the artist.
A number of people from the faculty have told me about how they are professional caregivers, but when one of their family members has been struck by dementia they have been incapable of dealing with it. I’m interested in capturing those stories.
In any event, I seeParables of Care as the beginning of a much larger project that explores and documents dementia in comic book form.
Did you identify differences in how Canada and the UK approach dementia care?
PW: I can’t answer this question yet, but I hope to have some clues as we compare the data we collect with that from the Care‘N’Share app. I suspect that there will be differences and that they will be meaningful because even within Canada the different caregiving disciplines that engage with dementia don’t seem to communicate with each other that much. There are all kinds of gaps in the responses. I hope that the project allows people who work with dementia sufferers and their families to connect some dots and work towards a more holistic and universal approach to care.
There’s more than a hundred cases in Care’N’Share. As an editor, how did you approach the collection?
Our approach was to identify cases that represented particular strands of the dementia situation. While each case is unique, the stories do fall into categories: broken analogies, misrecognition, confinement and a desire for freedom and so on. What is important is that there are lots of satisfying though enigmatic eureka moments, where the undoubtable horror of dementia is relieved temporarily by the caregiver’s sympathy and genius.
Parables of Care can be downloaded as a PDF file, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, from City Research Online: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/18245/.
If you live in the UK you can request printed copies at no cost here.
I am very pleased to announce The Comics Grid, Journal of Comics Scholarship is co-sponsoring the international conference “Comics and the Multimodal World”, which will take place in Douglas College, Vancouver, June 13-16 2013 [note new date].